‘Law & Order: SVU’ Star Chris Meloni Describes Mariska Hargitay as a ‘Force of Good’

by Jacklyn Krol
Charley Gallay, Getty Images

Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay is just as epic as Olivia Benson.

Even some of the people who know her best, her co-stars and crew agree that she’s the best in the business.

“She walks the walk and she talks the talk,” Christopher Meloni told Glamour. “She’s a force for good at whatever she does, whether it’s being a mother or being an advocate or being an actress or being a friend.”

The duo work extremely well together on the show and think highly of one another. Mariska describes them as the mother and father of the franchise after being part of it since its inception.

When Mariska Hargitay met Christopher Meloni, she thought that he was someone else entirely. The pair met during auditions for Law & Order: SVU. At first, she believed that he was Mad Men actor John Slattery, who she previously met. She called out his name and Meloni just went with it but corrected her with an epic response.

The dynamic duo first met when they were auditioning for Law & Order: SVU. At first, Hargitay mistook him for Mad Men star John Slattery. But Meloni brushed it off and introduced himself.

“I was already standing up, and so we did this huge hug, and we’d never met,” Hargitay told Inside the Actors Studio. “He has a huge tattoo of Jesus on the cross, and so I said, ‘Oh my gosh, are you a Christian?’ And he’s like, ‘Um, no.” And I said, ‘Then why do you have that?’ He goes, ‘Just liked his commitment.’ That sort of sums up Meloni.”

At first, they were set to individually audition. However, the network decided to audition them together.

“I knew it was done then. It just happened, it was a pairing,” she added. “From the first second before we even [auditioned]. You can’t write it.”

The pair hit it off right away. Meloni began telling her a story and when they went in to audition, he continued. He told the NBC executives to hold on a minute so he could finish it. It all worked out in the end and it must have been some story!

Being a Mother and Starring in ‘Law & Order: SVU’

Hargitay manages to work more than full time while being a wife and mother. She married her husband, fellow actor Peter Hermann, who she met on Law & Order: SVU, back in 2004. They have three children together, ages 11, 7, and 6.

“It’s hard,” she admitted to US Weekly. “I’m not going to say it’s easy, it’s hard. I’m learning to [balance]. I try to be super present with where I am. When I’m at work, I’m at work. When I’m with my kids, I’m with my kids.”

Hargitay credits her husband’s understanding at what keeps it all working. Both being actors and understanding the rigorous schedules keeps them in check. They make it work and make sure to take family time. But all days aren’t sunshine.

“Nevertheless, some days are worse than others,” she added. “There are days I go home and just cry. There have been days when I didn’t see my kids. Those are the days I’m, like, ‘Maybe I’m done.’” Luckily, being on the show as long as she has been, it seems everyone there has an understanding. “But now, this is a gift of doing something for 20 years. We’re such a well-oiled machine. I go in there and I’m like, ‘Guys, I’ve got a kids thing. I’m out.’ They’re like, ‘Got it, boom.’”